Progressive Socialist party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said that the killing of at least 20 Druze civilians in northwest Syria by Islamist militants was an “isolated incident” , incomparable to the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime every day.
Following an “emergency meeting” of Lebanese Druze leaders in Beirut, Jumblatt called for calm and reconciliation with the Sunni majority of Syria.
After condemning Wednesday’s killings by the al Qaeda linked Al Nusra Front in the village of Qalb Lozeh, Jumblatt said, “At the same time I condemn the Syrian regime’s shells that kill 150 to 200 people every day … and more than 350,000 so far since the civil war started .”
“It’s true that we stand in grief and shock before the death of 25 martyrs,” he added. “But 200 martyrs fall everyday all over Syria.”
Jumblatt who is a prominent critic of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime, said Syria’s Druze community should seek full reconciliation with the Sunni community.
“There is no escape from reconciliation with the majority of the Syrian people. What happened was an isolated incident, and I will resolve the issue politically through local and regional contacts.”
“We should deal with the situation calmly and through politics.”
Neither Bashar nor Israel
Jumblatt stressed that the Druze in Syria were not seeking assistance from Israel. “We do not need neither Assad nor Israel,” he said and added : “Both sides are talking in a sectarian tone, which aims to perpetuate sectarianism and divide the country.”
Jumblatt reiterated his call for a political solution based on regional and international consensus to the 4-year-old war in Syria that would remove Assad from power.
“I was the first to call for a political solution in Syria based on American-Russian-Turkish-Iranian-Saudi consensus to finally remove Bashar Assad from power and to preserve institutions,” he said. “There will be no political solution in Syria with Bashar.”
Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, a key PSP official , will begin Monday at Jumblatt’s request a tour of a number of Arab countries that wield influence on the Nusra Front and other Syrian rebel groups in an attempt to find out the Nusra’s true objectives concerning the Druze sect in Swaida, PSP sources said.
Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb said the situation facing the Druze sect in Syria was disturbing. “The situation will be better with the approaching collapse of the Bashar Assad regime,” he said.
Speaking after Jumblatt, the Druze spiritual leader in Lebanon, Sheikh al Akl Naim Hassan, condemned the Qalb Lozeh massacre and called for the protection of the unity of the Syrian people and avoidance of sectarian strife which, he said, would only benefit Israel. “We are confident that our brothers in Syria will not abandon the banner of Syrian unity, brotherhood and reconciliation with their countrymen and their neighbors throughout Syria,” Hassan said.
“We stand in silence, pain and sympathy with our people in Qalb Lozeh. We pray for the martyrs,” he said